The Treatment | Essay | Chicago Reader
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Friday 23

PRIMERIDIAN, MR. GREENWEEDZ A fixture on Chicago's underground hip-hop scene since the mid-90s, the local duo PRIMERIDIAN recently increased their visibility by joining the ever-expanding Family Tree collective. The soul-rich production on their new album, Da Allnighta (All Natural Inc.), displays a deep musicality--they expand on simple, old-school beats without overstuffing tracks with samples and live instrumentation. The lyrics tend to be ruminations on politics and romance, but sharp lines like "You want to be a smart-ass? / Then sit on your brains" keep them from coming off as toothless do-gooders.

Best known as the MC in Liquid Soul, rapper MR. GREENWEEDZ finally stepped out on his own earlier this year with G-Strings (All Natural Inc.), a collaboration with producer G.riot. The tracks are spare--just lean beats and gentle piano and keyboard samples--but Greenweedz is more than capable of filling them out. Like most Family Tree members, he's the contemplative type: on "Moment of Clarity" he waxes philosophical, rapping lines like "Since we're no longer a feel-good culture / Will we feel good about behaving like vultures?" A pair of instrumentals feature Liquid Soul saxophonist Mars Williams, whose edgy tone and searing lines obliterate any trace of the smooth-jazz sound you typically hear on feel-good hip-hop records.

This concert is an All Natural Inc. showcase. Iomos Marad headlines; Pacifics, Daily Plannet, Primeridian, Rita J, Mr. Greenweedz, and Eulorhythmics open. 10 PM, HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo, 312-362-9707, $10. --Peter Margasak

TOMMIE SUNSHINE Chicago expat Tommie Sunshine is one of those messiah DJs--with Jesus hair and beard, no less--who not only gets the sluts out on the dance floor but veers off into the weird so the rockers and noise nerds will join in. Though I'm not crazy about his own music--too dull--his recent remixes for the likes of Fall Out Boy and the Faint twist the mundane into something that makes you want to test out your stupidest dance moves. "If there is one thing to understand about me," he writes on his Myspace blog, it's that "everyone is always invited to my party and no one will ever get stuck at the door." Take him up on it. Tommie Sunshine headlines the Kill Hannah afterparty, which also includes a live performance by the Shiny Toy Guns and DJ sets from Trancid, Mark Gertz, and Greg Corner. He'll also open Kill Hannah's sold-out show at 6:30 PM and spin between bands. 11 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $10 at the door, free with Kill Hannah ticket, 18+. --Liz Armstrong

ANDY WILLIAMS There's never been a singer who could do "Moon River" quite like Andy Williams, who could roll "Waitin' round the bend / My huckleberry friend" in such a way that you really believed they were soul-deep bros-till-the-end with a river. His initial 1962 recording of the song was so popular that over the next few years seemingly every album had to include a version--maybe its melancholy escapist fantasy was the ideal sound track for America's post-JFK mood. His entire career has been built on supple interpretations of popular favorites and standards, but Williams sings every tune as if it were his own. It's like he's been wandering the earth since the Paleozoic, crooning "The Summer Wind" and "Corcovado" and waiting for the strings to come in. And the fact that he's still doing shows 40 years after he was omnipresent on the charts and in your grandma's record collection just shows that he won't let time pass him by. 8 PM, Star Plaza Theatre, I-65 & U.S. 30, Merrillville, Indiana, 773-734-7266 or 312-559-1212, $35-$45. All ages. --Jessica Hopper

Monday 26

JOHN HERNDON GROUP John Herndon's one of the loosest and most skilled rock drummers in Chicago, but despite an abiding love for jazz and past studies at the AACM School of Music he's rarely shown off his innate swing sensibility. That began to change last summer: after playing in Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra in August he decided to start chasing his jazz muse in earnest, leading a loose aggregation of local players on Monday nights at Danny's. Herndon's group usually includes guitarist (and Tortoise bandmate) Jeff Parker, bassist Jason Ajemian, trumpeter Josh Berman, and vibist Jason Adasiewicz, tackling lesser-known hard-bop gems by the likes of Bobby Hutcherson, Elmo Hope, and Harold Land, with some originals sprinkled in. It's a delightfully relaxed hang, and it's been a real pleasure to watch Herndon find his inner jazzman. 9 PM, Danny's, 1951 W. Dickens, 773-489-6457. Free. --Peter Margasak

Wednesday 28

CAN-KY-REE Local folk-pop band Can-Ky-Ree has a romantic history to match its romantic sound. Tom Musick, the group's founding singer-guitarist, cut his teeth in LA's paisley underground scene before moving to Paris in 1987. Discovering that old Hank Williams songs were in greater demand than dissonant rock, he paid the rent (on a rusty cargo barge, no less) as a country-and-western troubadour, which laid the groundwork for his own blend of American roots balladry and Parisian dance-hall music. He brought this approach back with him when he moved to Chicago in the late 90s, hooking up with fellow country-folksters Steve Dorocke (guitar, pedal steel) and Ryan Hembrey (piano, bass) and later adding musicians on accordion, clarinet, and percussion. The songs on Can-Ky-Ree's 2002 self-released CD, East of Earshot, showcase the quintet's convivial eclecticism, which puts them somewhere between Lyle Lovett and Tom Waits: "Beneath the Back Stairway," for instance, marries barrelhouse tack piano to Mediterranean-sounding accordion and mandolin, setting the scene for Musick's clever lyrics (one verse rhymes disenchanted with miscreantic). The Get Up Johns and Ben Kyle open. 9 PM, Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, 773-227-4433, $7. --J. Niimi

POMPEII My advice to a few of the interchangeable indie-pop bands out there: consider taking on a string player. (Don't all jump on this at once--that'd defeat the purpose.) Like Pompeii, an Austin quintet that includes guitarist Shane Stevens, late of the Ghost. They've been together for a little more than a year, and their debut is slated to come out on Eyeball Records in the summer. A video and a few songs are available online in the meantime, and though the songwriting's lacking, Caitlin Bailey's steady, mournful, and always perfectly placed cello drone spins a sort of dark halo around the spiky yearning guitar on "Miracle Mile" and the almost-country plaintiveness of the vocals on "Catalogue." May or May Not and Inspector Owl open. 9 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, 773-281-4444, $8, 18+. --Monica Kendrick

Thursday 29

KIM This self-declared "Asian girlie indie-pop band" considers this gig to be a reunion show--Janet Kim, Yanti Arifin, and Mia Park (host of Chic-a-Go-Go) parted ways in 2002, with Janet moving to Philadelphia and Yanti bowing out to have a child. But next year they hope to release the long-delayed follow-up to their self-titled, self-released 2000 EP--a fine collection of bouncy guitar-pop tunes whose crystalline harmonies are reminiscent of the Bangles' early work. In the meantime they've posted a few remixes by members of the Butthole Surfers at their Web site, kimrock.com. The A-Sides and MirrorAmerica open, and members of all three bands DJ at an afterparty upstairs that starts at 11 PM. 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $8. --J. Niimi

THE NEW UP I've heard a lot of music that seemed great on paper--the right influences, the appropriately clever song titles, the rave reviews in all the proper places--but turned out to be so utterly unmemorable I might as well have skipped the listening part altogether. San Francisco quintet the New Up turns that notion inside out: after reading their notices, which allude to a kitchen-sink aesthetic, you might expect some tedious rock-festival rock sound, the equivalent of sitting through short sets from six different bands, none of them satisfying. But though the music's a pinch-of-this, dash-of-that gumbo, it's nicely focused. The New Up decorate their trippy new wave with some fetishized guitar play--gentle wah-wah abuse and the kind of noodling that evokes Neal Schon, back when Journey was a guitar-geek band--held together by front woman E.S. Pitcher, whose thick voice has the irresistible presence of a Grace Slick or Deborah Iyall. They laid all this down on their self-titled, self-released 2004 debut, and it looks like their follow-up, set for release in the spring, is going to be a gem: the tracks I've heard move with a seething, aggressive kind of dream logic. Organ Wolf opens. 9:30 PM, Martyrs', 3855 N. Lincoln, 773-404-9494 or 800-594-8499, $6. --Monica Kendrick

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